Denver Direct: 2007

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Blackwater Near You – Part 1

(Headquarters at 64th and York. This is a secure facility, guarded by Homeland Security, and no photographs are allowed.)


The Colorado Open Records Act (CORA) is a rich source for original documents kept by governmental agencies. It’s very easy to use; email or write to the agency and they then have three days to respond and up to 10 days to schedule you for an examination of the records you request. Be sure to ask for a list of the documents they are not going to let you see, with details about what and why.

Show up for the appointment and they will likely sit you down in a room with the documents and a person to watch you. Take your time, go through the documents, and select those you want copied. They make the copies and charge you 25 cents for each page. They bring you the copies, you pay, thank them and leave. (Note: The Mayor’s Office, at which I have a pending CORA, has mentioned charging for “research time”.)

Thus it was that I obtained, in my effort to document exactly what is filling Grasmere Lake in Washington Park and Ferril Lake in City Park and irrigating the fields in those and various other parks, a complete copy of the current Industrial Wastewater Discharge Permit for the Lowry Landfill Superfund Site by the Metro Wastewater Reclamation District. That’s quite a mouthful. Let them explain (from their website at

The Metro Wastewater Reclamation District is the wastewater treatment authority for most of metro Denver. It was formed by the Colorado state legislature in 1961 to provide wastewater transmission and treatment services to member municipalities and special connectors in compliance with federal, state, and local laws.

The Metro District serves about 1.5 million people in a 380-square mile service area that includes Denver, Arvada, Aurora, Lakewood, Thornton, Westminster, and more than 45 sanitation and water and sanitation districts.

The Metro District treats about 130 million gallons of wastewater a day and discharges the treated water into the South Platte River where it makes up nearly 90 percent of the River for nine months of the year.

So if you are an industrial entity, and you have some stuff you’d like to flush down the drain into the sewer system, you shouldn’t just flush it in the dark of night. Instead, you should apply for and receive an Industrial Wastewater Discharge Permit (I understand that over 200 such Permits have been issued). The Lowry Landfill Superfund Site (LLSS) is such an entity, and they have a lot of “stuff” they want to flush. Thus, they have obtained the Permit and I have obtained a copy of it.

In this series I intend to analyze this Permit and outline the details of exactly what is going into our lakes and onto our parks. I hope you’ll stick with me as this is a complex story, but your health and welfare may very well hinge on the details. Remember the Dead Ducks.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Zoo - Festival Wrapped Up?

Thanks again to Dave Felice who has written and posted letters to officials in the Zoo - AEG Music Festival standoff at Here's his latest summary.


In its edition of December 21, the Rocky Mountain News quotes concert organizer Chuck Morris as saying he's "mad about...the way it was handled," referring to the Denver Zoo decision to withhold support of a music festival Morris proposed to stage in City Park.

According to the newspaper story by reporter Daniel Chacon, "(M)usic promoter Chuck Morris, president and CEO of AEG Live Rocky Mountain Division, said he respects (Zoo Director Craig) Piper's decision but wished he (Piper) would have made it known sooner."

Chacon's story goes on, quoting Morris: "We (AEG) met with them (Zoo officials) September 12 and never was any major problem . . . about the sound brought up."

The leader of the Denver Zoo for nearly four decades, Clayton Freiheit, died on October 28. The Zoo's Board unanimously named Piper to succeed Freiheit on November 29. In public meetings, Morris had stated that he understood the zoo was going through a "difficult time"and Morris indicated he was delaying further meetings with zoo officials.

According to the Rocky Mountain News, Zoo representative Ana Bowie said Morris never told Zoo officials "that the decision to stage the two day event at City Park hinged on the Zoo." In neighborhood meetings, Morris said he would not go forward if the Zoo determined there would be risk to the zoo animals.

In a statement provided to, Piper said:"Unfortunately, there is no data to help us determine the potential additional impact to animals of extending the exposure to loud music to two-and-a-half days as proposed."

Piper said zoo officials "discussed this with a number of our professional colleagues around the country who host music concert series at their zoos or who have them in adjacent park facilities. We have found a number of venues (which) allow music much louder than Denver and Denver Zoo currently allows, without ill effects, however,none of these concert series subject animals to multiple days of loud music."

In each case, they host shorter performances and have decibel limits in place much like our current approach. Piper added, "(T)o our knowledge, there is no similar model where zoo animals have been exposed to extended loud music to help us determine how we could accomplish this safely in Denver."

Citing "fundamental protect the animals," Piper concluded, "(the) Denver Zoo is unable to endorse the proposed music festival in City Park. We wish that it could be held at another more appropriate venue that would not risk the lives of the animals."

After Piper notified city officials of his decision, Anschutz Entertainment issued a statement saying the organization would be"exploring alternative locations" for the proposed festival. Earlier,in at least one public meeting, Morris said "there was no second choice" to City Park.

In its statement, Anschutz Entertainment representatives say they arranged for promoter Howard Pollack to meet with Denver Zoo officials. Pollack has been staging the Music Series at the Oklahoma City Zoo for over 20 years. According to AEG, Pollack and the staff of the Oklahoma City Zoo has not "had a problem with animal safety"during that time.

Piper also expressed concern about the financial impact of the proposed festival, saying the Zoo could lose up to $300,000 over a weekend.

The Rocky Mountain News reports Morris offered to compensate the zoo,quoting Morris as saying "We were talking about buying out the whole zoo for what they averaged that weekend."

District 8 Councilwoman Carla Madison, a member of the Public Amenities Committee, was the only member of the Denver City Council to express support for the festival plan. Madison appeared in a video prepared by AEG before the proposal was presented to the public.There was no immediate comment from Madison following the Zoo's decision. Madison's district includes City Park.

Other animal welfare organizations, such as the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) and the American Humane Association, have not made any public comment on developments in Denver.

The full text of the Rocky Mountain News story is available at The statements by AEG and Craig Piper are both available at